I was walking through Target yesterday and they already have their swim suits out for the summer. So I thought it would be a good idea to remind people how to size a swim suit as well as appropriate swim attire or "bathers" as my Aussie girlfriend likes to call them.
One of my pet peeves is seeing little girls with swim suits hanging off their bodies. The fabric bunches down at the bottom. 1st thing to remember when buying a swim suit for girls is BUY IT TIGHT FITTING! Please don't buy a swim suit thinking they will "grow into it". If anything the lycra in a suit will stretch and break down over time. When trying on a swim suit for your daughter, check her shoulder straps at the top. You should be able to fit only about 2 fingers in at the top. Tight is good! The suit will stretch and lose elasticity through wear.
A bonus with a tight fitting swim suit is that it will last longer. The fabric is being pulled tight and this strengthens the lycra from chlorine breakdown. Also, do not wash your swim suit in the washing machine. That will break down the suit much faster and waste your money. I don't even rinse mine, I just hang to dry.
What about those swim shirts that so many swim suits come with now? At swim lessons, our pool is indoors. There is no sun, the pool is 90 degrees. There is no need for a swim shirt. These shirts act as drag and can weigh down a swimmer. When we were training at an elite level, we would sometimes use additional suits or even cut off tights to act as drag to make us work harder. I don't think young children need to work so hard in a pool learning to swim. Swim shirts come in handy of course when out in the sun. But keep in mind, they weigh a child down! Luckily for me, me kids are olive complexioned and I lather them with sunscreen every hour. But I can understand fair skinned children needing extra sun protection. Just be aware and mindful of the extra fabric when swimming.
Boys suits (swim trunks) also can be a burden when netting or pockets fill up with water. My boys swim in "jammers" which are similar to bike shorts. Tight fitting but more coverage than a typical speedo. These can be bought at most sporting good stores or online.
I hope this helps for your kid's swim suit decisions for the summer. If you have any questions, shoot me an email and I will try to help you as best I can. I just bought my kids some speedo suits for the summer. The fabric that Speedo calls "Endurance" has polyester in it and lasts much longer!